Magnificent Bastard

Thursday, October 30, 2014

white

Ask the MB: Ralph Lauren's Team USA Olympic Uniforms

Ask the MB: Ralph Lauren's Team USA Olympic Uniforms
Q: Amid the brouhaha about this year's US Olympic uniforms, I'm surprised no one's brought up the obvious complaint: they're hideous! Horrible berets, round collars, ugly ties, and jackets with distractingly enormous manufacturer logos... even the white trousers under stadium lighting will give us a good sense of who wears what underwear. Am I right about this, or just completely out of touch?
—Vince


A: You are right (for the most part). The insane politicians who wanted to burn the Ralph Lauren uniforms because they were made in China should have instead wanted to burn the blazer because it's a too-short DB with peak lapels and brass buttons.

The beret is an odd choice. Maybe Lauren thought the games were in Paris instead of London.

As for the rounded collars, we have previously argued against trimming there because all the sensitive nerve endings are at the tip, and we've weighed in on Lauren's enlarged equestrian logo, which is approaching the size of a real-life jockey.

Where we disagree is on the white trousers. Even under hundreds of 1500-watt lights, they get us to chant U-S-A U-S-A.

Earlier: Ask the MB: White Pants

Ask the MB: White Pants

Ask the MB: White Pants
Q: The MB-ness of white jeans has been well documented, but what about white cotton dress pants? Denim is too casual, but I would like to step it up at work this summer.
—Dave


A: White pants.

White pants!

WHITE FUCKING PANTS!

Were we previously not clear on the MB-ness of white pants? Sorry.

On summer days when we're not wearing blue jeans or white jeans, we're wearing white pants. However, they're not without their challenges, namely finding them and keeping them clean.

For the former, we have YOOX's white pants latest arrivals on speed dial. If there is a bigger collection of white pants outside of a Naval Academy graduation, let us know. For the latter, just make sure your wife/girlfriend/launderer is aware of the stain-fighting power of Ivory + OxyClean. They're going to need it.

Earlier: Billy Mays: The Best-Laundered Huckster on TV

Bubba Watson's Masters Uniform Was for Charity

Bubba Watson's Masters Uniform Was for Charity
Early last year we wondered if Bubba Watson was a toolbag with MB tendencies or vice versa.

Now we're pretty sure it's the latter.

This season Watson combined a pink head with his pink-shafted Ping G20 driver to support Breast Cancer Awareness (Ping donates $300 for every 300 yard drive Watson hits), and at the Masters he just won he wore the same white-on-white outfit for four days to raise money for Fresh Start, a California charity that provides cosmetic reconstructive surgery for children with physical defects.

Now Watson clothing sponsor Travis Mathew is selling a $200 white polo and belt package with 100% of the proceeds going to Fresh Start. If they sell out, an additional $50,000 will be donated to the California-based cancer research center City of Hope.

While both the polo and belt badly violate the MB principle of legible clothing, we're in, and the Pulaski Goodwill soon be receiving a NWT Travis Mathew polo shirt and belt.

Earlier: Top 5 Ways to Make the Green Jacket Look Even Worse

Ask the MB: When Should I Retire the Tweed?

Ask the MB: When Should I Retire the Tweed?
Q: When should I mothball the tweed for the year? Is it the same in the spring as fall - last freeze as predicted by the Farmer's Almanac? Or just before Easter?
— Mark


A: While the Farmer's Almanac's frost guide is perfect for the introduction of tweed, it's of no use for its retirement. The average last frost in Green Bay, Wisconsin is May 6, which is way, way too late to be wearing tweed. By then we're in white pants, drinking clear liquor.

Just before Easter might work if it had a set date like Christmas, but the range for this holiday 34 days, which is fine for Jesus's resurrection but unhelpful as a style guidepost.

Rather than rely on Mother Nature or Christian holidays for tweed mothbolling, we've been lead instead by the Energy Policy Act of 2005, which extended the start of daylight savings time (DST) three weeks, to the second Sunday in March starting in 2007. For the past six years we've found the start of DST to be a very reliable and natural-feeling tweed end date.

Earlier: Ask the MB: When to Break Out the Tweed

Ask the MB: When to Break Out the Tweed

Ask the MB: When to Break Out the Tweed
Q: I don't give a crap about when I should stop wearing white pants. The more important question is: when can I start wearing tweed?
—Mark


A: We've found that Mother Nature offers sound guidance on when to break out the tweed: first frost. According to the Old Farmer's Almanac, on average this happens in Green Bay on October 4. This feels just right for us, as it's also the time we move exclusively to brown liquor. For most of the rest of the country we think the Almanac's first frost table will function as a fairly accurate tweed-wearing guide too.

If you live in a climate where frost is rare, you can start wearing tweed as soon as it's gloomy at least three days in a row.

If you live in climate where it never even gets gloomy, you either own no tweed or your love for the fabric is so irrational you will have no use for practical advice like ours.

MB Endorses: White After Labor Day

MB Endorses: White After Labor Day
Labor Day has passed, which means you have to put your white pants on furlough for about nine months or so. But only if you have a time machine and plan to visit 1935 for the rest of the year. In 2011, the dictum against wearing white pants between Labor Day and Memorial Day makes about as much sense as making a special trip to the mall to pay $17.98 for an album that only includes three songs you're actually planning to listen to. Some people still do it, sure, but why?

A more sensible approach: Wear white whenever it is weather-appropriate, which is to say, whenever, it's warm enough to have sex outside. For years we've said white pants are okay through the end of the MLB regular season, assuming you live where we do, at about 44° N (northern Wisconsin). We'd like to add an important corollary to the White Pants Doctrine and extend the wearing period five days for each latitudinal degree you are south of Pulaski, until you reach 30° N, where you can safely wear white pants year-round.

See the table below.

City Approximate Latitude Last Day for White Pants 2011
Milwaukee, WI 43° N October 3
Chicago, IL 42° N October 8
St. Louis, MO 39° N October 23
Memphis, TN 35° N November 12
Savannah, GA 32° N November 27

As for the pants themselves, our all-time favorite white jean is the AG Protege (now 33% off at Nordstrom if you're a 33 or 32). For trousers, Costume National Homme makes great whites that can easily be dressed up or down, and they are all on deep discount this time of year.

Ask the MB: What is the Ex-Toolbag in the Header Wearing?

Ask the MB: What is the Ex-Toolbag in the Header Wearing?
Q: Oh oracle of basterdom, could you give us a rundown on what the ex-toolbag in the header is wearing?
— T


A: The toolbag has transformed from camo cargo shorts, a waffle-knit Florida State long-sleeve T, a royal blue windbreaker, and running shoes (see a picture of the poor guy) into:

Shirt: Levis. $100.
Tie: Mountain and Sackett. $59.
Jacket: Belstaff 'The Racer'. $450.
Pants: J. Crew vintage slim (wheat). $98.
Shoes: Allen-Edmonds McAllister. $325.
Watch: Timex Vintage Field Army. $150.
Belt: Stylist's own

Which reminds us, the header promotion sponsored by LKc Style — three hours of personalized online style consulting, including a free shirt from Read's Clothing Project for $150 — ends when we turn Miss August into recycling and say hello to Miss September.

Read just received a new shipment of nice-looking shirts (we've already ordered the Jake Madras), and at a $98 retail you're getting the style consulting for 52 bucks. If we didn't already strongly resemble the "After" shot — yes, we raided our own wardrobe for the shoot — we'd seriously consider this deal.

White Denim Buying Guide S/S 2011

White Denim Buying Guide S/S 2011
In spite of there still being snow on the ground here, white jeans season in nearly upon us, and we strongly endorse getting into a pair (or two). The guiding purchasing principle? Let the white denim do the talking (as it's already talking pretty loudly). In other words, no funky cuts, no colored rivets, no contrast stitching, no distressing. Or as Suprametist artist Kazimir Malevich would say: "Just white jeans." Here are a few of our favorites this season.

7 for All Mankind Austyn Straight Leg Jeans
$169

A 34" inseam, which is good for taller MBs, and a slightly wider leg opening (18") for those wanting to stay clear from any "skinny" association. The pocket logo can be removed in seconds.

You can get 20% off this pair with discount code BASTARD20, making them $135.20.
Adriano Goldschmied Protege Jeans
$162

These jeans, along with a fine pair of stems, graced the MB masthead when this site launched nearly four years ago. They're great white jeans. Unfortunately this season's inseam measures only 32.5", so they will signal a flood in our office, but may work for you.
Citizens of Humanity 'Sid' Straight Leg Jeans
$154

Long inseam (34.5") and fairly narrow leg opening (17") create slim, not skinny look.
Alexander McQueen White Selvage Jeans
$475

Alexander McQueen committed suicide just over a year ago, and design was taken over by Sarah Burton, who we dare say is at least as good, if not better than the brand's deceased namesake.

Ask the MB: OBEY x Generic Surplus Plimsoll Boat Shoe

Ask the MB: OBEY x Generic Surplus Plimsoll Boat Shoe
Q: Hey guys: Love the website, and a couple of times it's stopped me from making a fashion mistake - I appreciate it. Anyway, I saw these on Gear Patrol and wondered what you thought. They're not crocs or thongs, and I thought the blue ones would look good with some white jeans. I will defer to your expertise though.
--David


A: Obey and Generic Surplus are both brands we like, but this plimsoll-boat shoe fusion (top) has us imagining comical sunburn patterns we'd just as soon avoid. We say: Women alone should bear the risk of skin-exposing mesh (bottom).

If you want a navy boat shoe, there is always Sperry, of course, but we also like the Oak Street Bootmakers version, made from Horween Chromexcel and handcrafted and handstitched in the USA.

As for navy plimsolls, Lyle and Scott's version hail from the island where the word was invented, and we also really like Superga's take on them.

Finally, we applaud your choice of white jeans. Here in the upper midwest we're just weeks away from being able to wear them, and tomorrow we'll list a few of our favorites.

Ask the MB: White After Labor Day

Ask the MB: White After Labor Day
Q: What is the rule with wearing white after Labor Day? I have heard a bunch of different rules and wanted to get the official MB stance on this. I live in the south and we can have warm weather all the way though October so I didnt know if I had to go ahead and hang up all my white attire (linen pants, dress shorts, loafers, etc) till memorial day or not? Thanks.
--Zack


Q: The Memorial-Day-to-Labor-Day thing is an antiquated sartorial rule, like a hat requirement when when standing in an unemployment line. Even up here in Wisconsin we've adopted a May-Day-to-end-of-MLB-regular-season rule. If you live in the south, extend that to the end of the World Series. But please think twice about those linen pants.

Ask the MB: Blazer and Pants Combo

Ask the MB: Blazer and Pants Combo
Q: My husband and I are visiting NYC this summer and have reservations at an upscale restaurant that requires jackets for men. What jackets/blazers do you recommend that can be worn with non-jeans without looking like a total toolbag?
--Melissa


A: A jacket requirement at a time when the record-breaking NYC heat is forcing at least one Prospect Park woman to cook dinner in her underwear is reason to instead consider, say, holing up in your air-conditioned hotel room and ordering room service.

If you do decide to venture out, we hear what you're saying about matching blazers with non-denim. While nearly 100% of blazers go with blue jeans, the success rate with trousers is no better than 10%. Unless they're white. White pants are nearly denim's blazer-matching equivalent, so rather than go shopping for a new blazer, find him a great pair of white pants (and they're all on sale now).

Ask the MB: Polo Match Outfit

Ask the MB: Polo Match Outfit
Q: I am going to a polo event on June 12th. I have not been to one. What to wear? Obviously weather plays a part in this, so let's assume it is 90 + degrees and sunny. I would love the detail for the outfit and sunglasses (total to spend $2500.00) and I have a great watch. I am more concerned with pant, shirt, jacket, and shoes. Thanks!
--JJ


A: This may be your first polo match, but that doesn't mean everyone has to know. Follow the lead of Prince Harry, who has been there before, many times over, and go casual. Based on your budget, here's some specific pieces that will make you look like carefree royalty. (Caveat: Harry gets everything right from the neck down. His Maui Jim-style sunglasses should be left to the toolbag rabble.)
Post O'Alls Cpost Chambray Long Sleeve

SHIRT
Post O'Alls Cpost Chambray Long Sleeve
$198
via Steven Alan

JEANS
SPURR Pipe Leg White Jeans
$285
via Bloomingdale's

BELT
Kicking Mule Workshop - Brown Belt with Handforged Buckle
$330
via Context Clothing

SOCKS
Happy Socks - The Stripes
$10.50
via Gent Supply Co.

SHOES
Yves Saint Laurent Jeffrey Loafers
$635.00
via Saks Fifth Avenue



With shipping this adds up to ~$1600.00. Spend the balance on several rounds of MBs for everyone at bar afterwards.

Ask the MB: Bond Never Rode a Bicycle to Work

Bond, still in golf shoes after winning his match with Goldfinger
Bond, still in golf shoes after winning his match with Goldfinger
Q: Dear MB: WTF? I bet James Bond never biked to work. Why don't you get back to doing what you do best, for example by telling me whether an MB can or should wear a blue seersucker jacket, and if so, with what pants.
--Julian


A: We've seen all the movies -- in some cases dozens of times -- and don't recall any scenes where 007 is rolling along at 5 MPH for 30 minutes behind some toolbag in an Escalade with a "Freedom Isn't Free" bumper sticker. There's nothing magnificent about enduring traffic jams twice a day, which is why we endorse bike commuting in many situations.

Regarding the seersucker, if your blazer is cut more like J. Crew instead of J. Press, it would look great with denim, especially white. 'Tis the season.

10 Sneakers for Summer 2010

10 Sneakers for Summer 2010
Last week we had a shorts-with-shoes question and answered the first part. Now for some shoe suggestions.

First, some guidelines:

1.) Clear some room at the end of the bench for Chuck and Jack this summer. They've been playing non-stop all year and could use a breather.

2.) Sneakers that you plan to wear with shorts are one item where we give more leeway than we usually do to bright colors, patterns, and logos. Don't go crazy though. If Turtle from Entourage would wear it, you've probably gone too far.

3.) Sticking with white or gray is your best bet for picking a shoe that can work with a wide variety of shorts. (Important note: If you're a size 12 or over, do not go with an all-white shoe unless you're trying to pick up work as a clown at children's birthday parties.)

4.) If you're dying to incorporate red velour into your wardrobe, a pair of sneakers is the only place to do it.
Topman

Topman Grey Jersey Plimsolls
$32

If the world must have sleeveless t-shirts, we like to think that all those amputated sleeves go to some greater style purpose -- like adding a textural twist to classic gray plimsolls.
ShoeLab

ShoeLab Dark Brown Sneaker
$49

The sneaker scientists at the UK brand ShoeLab get the overdying just right on these. They look nicely faded and disheveled, but stop short of trying too hard.
Tretorn T56

Tretorn T56 Canvas
$55

The T56s offer timeless style. Our great-great-great-great-great-grandkids will be wearing these in 2210. In 2010, they're the shoes we reach for when we know the evening's going to involve some furious table tennis action.
Superga

Superga 2750 Classic
$65

"Leave your socks at home," the Superga website enthuses, because the interior of the 2750 feature finished inseams. We like that touch but we're not going to go that far. For all summer sneaker-wearing we recommend the Banana Republic no-show socks.
Williot

Williot Gabardine Wool Sneakers
$79

Williot is a Spanish brand that made its debut in the U.S. market last summer. If you want to look sporty but not athletic -- i.e., you aren't planning to do anything more strenuous than mixing cocktails by the pool -- these are a great choice.
Lyle & Scott

Lyle & Scott Canvas Plimsolls
$85

Scottish brand with a golfing heritage, founded in 1874. Just like Scottish singer Susan Boyle, these plimsolls are built a little more solidly than many others on the market.
Cole Haan

Cole Haan Air Mercury Sport Oxfords
$98

Why are we recommending these Chuck clones and not the real thing? Thanks to the hidden Air Nike technology hidden in the heel, they're one of the few Chuck-style shoes that you can play basketball in and not sentence your feet to a lifetime of Bill Walton-like pain. When your day involves anything more strenuous than a J. Crew photo shoot, wear these.
TST

TST
$125

Designer Seishi Tanaka hand-draws the sketches for the TST line and it shows. This model leans toward the more athletic end of the athleisure shoe spectrum -- we think we could actually play some touch football in it -- but it has an organic quality not found in the hyper-engineered footwear of, say, Nike or Reebok.
Pataugas

Pataugas Rock
$138

If you want to add a Gallic touch to your Fourth of July barbecue, try these sneakers from Jean Paul Gaultier's shoe line, Pataugas. (You can pick up last year's slightly different model at yoox.com for only $89.)
Prada

Prada Velour Sneaker
$295

For those with the bucks, deluxe Chucks. "Red velour" and "understated" aren't words that usually go together, but we think they apply here.

Ask the MB: White Event

Ask the MB: White Event
Q: I have to go to an all white event (Bar Mitzvah). I have a white linen shirt and white linen pants. Can I wear both or do I need another top. And if the answer is yes, do I need a blazer or sweater?
--Kevin


A: Kevin, it would seem you haven't seen our bit on linen. It's trouble, and can turn a fella into a total mess within seconds. We've seen it happen. But when life gives you lemons, we say make lemonade (or at least some really outstanding lemon twists). Second, nobody wears white-on-white, except hospital orderlies and Mr. Clean (inset). So the objective is to break up the white with a shade of white, either in a different shirt, a sweater, or blazer. Take a look at this picture from the DKNY collection at Bloomingdale's, then ask the host if you can go as a bed.

POURCAST

BETA

Old Fashioned

  • 1 raw sugar cube
  • 2 dashes Angostura bitters
  • 3 oz bourbon

On bottom of Old Fashioned glass (what else?) dribble bitters on sugar cube. Muddle. Fill with ice, then with bourbon. Garnish with lemon twist. No, not a thick orange wedge, handful of cherries, or a cup of fruit salad. A simple lemon wedge.


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